The Redwood Area Board of Education hosted a public hearing, known as Truth in Taxation, Nov. 26 to present the proposed 2018, payable 2019 property tax levy as well as the current school budget.

Following that presentation by Tom Anderson, Redwood Area School District director of finance and supportive services, the school board certified the 2019 levy at $3,567,976.44. That levy represents a 5.21 percent increase – $176,758 – over the property tax levy of $3,391,218 which was collected in 2018.

Each year the Minnesota Department of Education establishes what is known as the maximum authorized property tax levy for every school district in the state. While a school district can approve less, it can’t exceed that amount. The property tax levy amount that is collected each year represents a small portion of the overall revenue for a school district.

According to Anderson, for the Redwood Area School District, the levy that was certified for 2019 is 17 percent of the overall revenue budget, with the rest coming from state and federal funds as well as tuition and fees paid locally. The largest portion, approximately 70 percent of the revenue, comes from the state. 

The total other sources revenue for 2019 is $16,983,457.

The local property tax levy dollars are allocated to three different major funds, including the general fund, the community service fund and the debt service fund.

This year the community service fund amount of the property tax levy is $109,450.16, which reflects a 6.26 percent decrease – $7,304.79 – compared to the levy of $116,754,95 levied in 2018.

The community service fund allocates dollars to community education, early childhood programming, the school-age childcare program and for home visits. Decreases were seen in the home visit and school-age childcare programs for 2019. The debt service fund allocates dollars to cover the costs of debt on the capital assets of the school district.

For 2019, the debt service levy is $1,678,673.12, which is 1.87 percent lower than in 2018 ($1,710,582) - a difference of $31,908.88.

The overall general education levy covers a variety areas, such as of the voter approved referendum, which in-creased by $79,946.38 for 2019, as well as safe schools, heath and safety, facilities maintenance, lease levy and student achievement.

The general fund amount of the 2019 levy is $1,779,853.16, which is a 13.81 percent increase – $215,971,72 – over the levy of $1,563,881.44 in 2018.

The property owners of the Redwood Area School District will pay taxes certified Nov. 26 in 2019, with those funds used to cover expenses during in the local district for the 2019-20 academic year.